Suicide Prevention: Mental Health Outreach

Victim of domestic violence

Suicide occurs all over the world, in all demographics. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), close to 800,000 die by suicide every year which is 1 person every 40 seconds1. With every one person that has died from suicide, about 20 others have made attempts. What this means is: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Take a moment and assess yourself.

Do any of these sound familiar?
  • Consumed by negative thoughts
  • Feeling hopeless & like there’s no point in living
  • Thoughts of suicide or imagining death as a relief from life
  • Feeling lonely even when you’re surrounded by loved ones
  • Feeling like there is no solution to your problems other then suicide
  • Thinking everyone will be better off without you
  • Feeling worthless
  • The pain feels unbearable, as if you’re the only one it’s happening to

Suicidal thoughts may occur as an escalation of various personal situations or a symptom of a pre-diagnosed mental illness. Whichever it may be, your feelings are valid and important to address. Here are some signs or triggers of self harm and suicidal thoughts:

  • Previously diagnosed mental health problems
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Loss of employment
  • Experience of violence and abuse (physical, emotional, psychological, sexual)
  • Trauma
  • Financial difficulties

If you or anyone you know have been experiencing these difficult feelings and you are not sure what to do, please find people you trust then the first step becomes easier: Talk About It!

Having suicidal thoughts? Here’s what you can do

(Hint: most involve talking!):
  • Find a family member or friend you trust and tell them how you
  • Talk to a professional. An unbiased individual such as a doctor, mental health professional or counsellor can make a difference.
  • Are you spiritual/religious? Talk to someone from your spiritual
  • Support Groups. Join a group of people who have similar experiences. Share your thoughts, feelings and personal experiences; you are not alone.
  • Keep a journal. Writing helps as a coping strategy where you can also document your triggers and remind yourself of the reasons you have hope for
  • Important Numbers. Find the emergency service/crisis lines closest to you especially pertaining to mental health. Call them whenever you need to!
Man Looking at the Sunset From a Pier

Sometimes depression doesn’t look like depression. We’ve seen a host of television depictions that attempt to paint it as constant gloom (which it might be for some individuals). However, it   is still missed and many people ask themselves the same question after losing a loved one to suicide: “Why didn’t I see it?” Sometimes it is not so easy to tell. People, in their own way, will call out for help.

So, what does depression look like?

Some examples:
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Lack of energy and concentration
  • Unexplainable physical pain and health problems
  • Sleeping more or much less than usual
  • Loneliness, self-isolation
  • Appetite or weight changes (increase or decrease)
  • Self harm
  • Talking down on themselves & self-depreciation
  • Forced happiness! (Overcompensating)
  • Mood swings: anger, increasingly irritable, reckless behaviour
  • Anxiety
  • Increased alcohol or drug use

If you have a loved one you think may need some assistance, here’s how to Start The Conversation.

5 Steps to Start the Conversation:

  1. Educate yourself: from books to articles to posts such as these!
  2. Language: choose the right words, create a safe space, a No Judgement Zone
  3. Be Kind
  4. Listen and Ask Questions
  5. Talk about it!

Suicide isn’t a bad word or a taboo. It is okay to talk about it because you can get through it and feel better. You’re not alone. Others have experienced these emotions and have made it through; you feeling this way is not your fault. Ask for help, there are people who can and will help you. If you feel like you might be suffering from depression or suicidal ideation, don’t be scared to reach out for help. Together, we will get through it.

1https://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/

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